(WASHINGTON) U.S. employers extended a streak of solid hiring in May, adding 223,000 jobs and helping lower the unemployment rate to an 18-year low of 3.8 percent: The Labor Department says average hourly pay rose 2.7 percent from a year earlier, a slightly faster annual rate than in April: But pay growth remains below levels that are typical when the unemployment rate is this low #AceFinanceDesk reports

#AceFinanceReport – June.02: Still, the report shows that the nearly 9-year old economic expansion – the second-longest on record – remains on track. Employers appear to be shrugging off recent concerns about global trade disputes. The job market is also benefiting a wider range of Americans: The unemployment rate for high school graduates reached 3.9 percent, a 17-year low………….For black Americans, it hit a record low of 5.9 percent……………….The solid hiring data coincides with other evidence that the economy is on firm footing after a brief slowdown in the first three months of the year #AceFinanceDesk reports

The economy grew at a modest 2.2 percent annual rate in the January-March quarter, after three quarters that had averaged roughly 3 percent annually. Some economists remain concerned that the Trump administration’s aggressive actions on trade could hamper growth: The administration on Thursday imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from key allies in Europe, Canada and Mexico. Earlier in the week, it threatened to hit China with tariffs on $50 billion of its goods.

Still, while Trump has made such threats since March, most employers so far haven’t suspended hiring: And consumers have started to spend more freely, after having pulled back in the January-March quarter. That gain could reflect in part the effect of the Trump administration’s tax cuts, which might be encouraging more Americans to step up spending. Consumer spending rose in April at its fastest pace in five months. Some of the spending reflects more money needed to pay higher gas prices, a potential trouble spot for consumers in the coming months.

The average price of a gallon of gas nationwide reached $2.96 on Thursday, up 15 cents from a month ago, according to AAA. Some economists calculate that higher gas costs could offset up to one-third of the benefit of the tax cuts. Companies are spending more on industrial machinery, computers and software _ signs that they’re optimistic enough about future growth to expand their capacity. A measure of business investment rose in the first quarter by the most in 3-years.

That investment growth has been spurred partly by higher oil prices, which have encouraged the construction of more drilling rigs. Manufacturers have benefited from the healthier business spending and have increased hiring. In April, factories expanded production of turbines and other heavy machinery by the most in seven months.

Macroeconomic Advisers, a forecasting firm, says it now foresees the economy expanding at a robust 4 percent annual pace in the April-June quarter, which would be the fastest in nearly four years. That is up from its forecast last week of less than a 3 percent rate for the current quarter. Yet even with unemployment at an 18-year low, wage growth has been chronically sluggish in most industries, leaving many Americans still struggling to pay bills, particularly as inflation has ticked up. Still, companies are starting to pay more to lure workers from other companies, a trend that could lead to broader pay gains in coming months.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said higher pay for job-switchers tends to augur more robust raises for everyone else. At the same time, Martha Gimbel, head of economic research at the job listing site Indeed, notes that wages for people who remain in their jobs have actually declined in recent months. That suggests that many employers have yet to worry about their workers being lured away: USA – Voice of America http://bitly.com/2HdMZfM

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(DELHI, India.) India decided to proceed with the long-anticipated $5.5 bln deal to purchase Russia’ s S-400 surface-to-air missile units despite the US saying the purchase may affect the relations between Washington and New Dehli over Russian sanctions #AceFinanceDesk reports

#AceFinanceReport – June.02: According to the Hindustan Times, India’s Defense Ministry is to ask the apex Cabinet Committee to approve the purchase of the five S-400 Triumf systems, thus finalising the agreement: The deal is set to go through despite the fact that the Trump administration warning New Delhi of the possible ramifications of India’s intention to cultivate military ties with Russia, that would imminently jeopardise its relations with the US #AceFinanceDesk reports
India to buy Russian S-400 systems despite Washington’s warnings - report

Chairman of the U.S. Arms Service Committee Mac Thornberry has said that “the acquisition of this technology will limit, the degree with which the United States will feel comfortable in bringing additional technology into whatever country we are talking about.”

In case the purchase officially goes through, the Trump administration’s reaction might go as far as punishing India for violating the sanctions imposed against Russia.

Forced to choose between Russia and the US, New Delhi highlighted the need for a strong air defense given the fact the neighbouring China and Pakistan have already obtained advanced aerial capabilities.

India’s decision to rely on the Russian-made S-400 systems that have drawn a lot of interest from international buyers, could jeopardize sales of US-built Predator drones and Patriot missile defense systems. Though the US has been talking up the effectiveness of Patriots, the missile has reportedly been less than effective when used recently by Saudi Arabia.

According to NATO classification, S-400 Triumf is Russia’s most advanced air defense hardware, boasting unique and unparalleled capabilities. Capable of firing three types of missiles create a layered defense, the S-400 integrates a multifunction radar, autonomous detection and targeting systems, missile launchers and command posts. It can bring down aircrafts as well as missiles at the range of up to 400km.

With Russia being India’s largest arms supplier, Moscow accounted for 62 percent of arms sales to New Delhi over the past five years, according to the Stockholm International Peace Institute.

India is not the only country that has been experiencing tough pressuring from Washington. The US has been very explicit in its criticism of its “strategic partner”, Turkey and its deal with Russia to purchase the S-400 systems.

According to State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, Washington is seriously concerned about the fact Turkey as a NATO member would choose to purchase weapons not made in the US. In a bid to pressure Ankara, Assistant US Secretary Wess Mitchell said that unless Turkey backed out, the purchase “could lead to sanctions.”

Testifying before the House Foreign Relations committee last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US was making efforts to “keep the Turks in a place where they will never acquire the S-400.”

Moreover, US lawmakers introduced a bill which would virtually ban F-35 deliveries to Turkey to punish it for its increased “hostility.” The US has also criticized Ankara over the announcement it would look elsewhere in case Washington failed to deliver the F-35s.

RT: India to buy Russian S-400 systems despite Washington’s warnings – report https://t.co/b56ouna9Gxhttps://t.co/l1xOteWiAO

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(LONDON) Britain won’t sign up to any trade deal with the United States if it is not in its own inte rest, trade minister Liam Fox said on Saturday, after U.S. tariffs on metals imports drew a rebuke from one of Washington’s major European allies #AceFinanceDesk reports

#AceFinanceReport – June.02: Britain has talked up the prospect of a trade deal with the United States as it prepares to leave the European Union, its biggest trading partner, next year: But Britain, along with other EU countries, Canada and Mexico, has been hit by tariffs on steel and aluminum on exports to the United States…………….Fox, a champion of free trade, has called the move unlawful and asked Washington to reconsider, but he said it was not a mistake to pursue a trade deal #AceFinanceDesk reports

“If we can’t come to an agreement that we believe is in the interests of the United Kingdom, then we wouldn’t be signing any trade agreement,” Fox told BBC radio when he was asked whether Britain would accept a deal if were on the terms of President Donald Trump:

Britain won’t sign any U.S. trade deal if it’s not in UK interest: https://t.co/8rSqYYV6CL https://t.co/u0ZxPzXcK8: Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by David Stamp #AceFinanceNews

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